Stay Safe, Stay Cautious, Stay Prepared
In Arizona, we can never take too many precautions during monsoon season. We’ve often talked about driving safety during a monsoon and the various car repairs needed due to flooding damage from monsoon rains, but what about the basic emergency management strategies for surviving during a monsoon?
Many of us have lived here for decades and we know how to prepare for monsoon season. However, some of you haven’t and are still learning how to cope with these unforeseen dust storms, high winds and torrential rains. Sometimes we know they’re coming ahead of time and sometimes they come without much warning. It is during the times of surprise that we are the most vulnerable.
Monsoon Safety Tips
Here are some tips from the Maricopa County Emergency Management staff members on how to keep your family safe during a monsoon;
- Call 911 for ANY serious or life-threatening situation.
- When driving, use extra caution, slow down, make sure your vehicle is prepared with working lights, wipers and tires, check around for road damage, and be on the lookout for non-working traffic lights. Downed trees and power lines may also be down. Don’t try to drive through flooded roadways. Turn around.
- When clearing debris at your home, don’t remove a tree that has fallen on power lines. Call your power company to remove it. Don’t carry or move heavy items alone.
- When checking damaged property, use extreme caution when entering a building. If you are going to check on your own business or helping a neighbor – remember that there could be hidden damage. Safely take photos or video of the damage and make a list of damaged property and immediately call your insurance company. Don’t clean it up just yet.
- When inspecting your vehicle after a monsoon and flooding, be careful if you suspect there could be damage. Don’t drive around and ignore it. There could be issues more than just cosmetic damage. Have your trusted auto repair shop (https://narpro.com/) check for damage.
- When it comes to food safety, unopened refrigerators will keep food cold for about 4 hours. Unopened freezers can keep food cold for about 48 hours. Food that has been exposed to temps above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more, needs to be thrown out. If you’re unsure -THROW IT OUT! Don’t risk getting sick from contamination.
- If you’re trying to keep your food cold, but you don’t have large coolers to put ice in, you can empty your washing machine and put the food in there. Then, dump the ice right in. As the ice melts, the water will drain in the washer. If you can, try dry ice. Put the dry ice on TOP of the food, not underneath it. When handling dry ice, it is important to use gloves.
- When it comes to heat safety, and this is a big one here in Arizona summers, don’t wait in a hot house where you could overheat or dehydrate. Go somewhere with power and cool air and wait it out.
- When it comes to power outages, it is recommended that you turn off HVAC systems to avoid a surge. Leave one light on so you know when your power has been restored. Use flashlights only when needed and save the batteries. Candles could cause a fire and are not recommended. Don’t repair any electrical issues yourself!
Stay safe and know that you’ll get through it as long as you take the proper precautions and don’t try to fix things yourself. Driving through a monsoon is a terrifying experience, but living through a major storm and its aftermath can be equally scary for many people. Being prepared is one of the BEST things you can do for you and your loved ones.
Here is a list of Weather Hotlines that you can use as well!